Worth fighting for: A Top 10 of Fighter Romance Books

Written by Silke, updated 08 Jun 2021

They are strong and they are capable to protect. Unfortunately they tend to come with a lot of baggage as well. Most fighter heroes are quite tortured souls it seems. Literally and figuratively. But a troubled past never stood in the way of a HEA in romance books, quite the opposite in fact. We have compiled a list of the best romance books featuring fighters: MMAs, boxers, illegal fight clubs - it's all there.

  • #1 Holding Strong - Lori Foster

    Holding Strong - Lori Foster

    contemporary suspense fighters athletes sports

    An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel 

    Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows… 

    Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. more

  • #2 Real - Katy Evans

    Real - Katy Evans

    contemporary possessive hero billionaire tortured hero insta-love

    A fallen boxer.
    A woman with a broken dream.
    A competition…

    He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

    Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

    He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. more

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  • #3 Making Faces - Amy Harmon

    Making Faces - Amy Harmon

    contemporary virgin heroine dark romance second chances men in uniform

    Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

    Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. more

  • #4 Fighting for Flight - J.B. Salsbury

    Fighting for Flight - J.B. Salsbury

    young adult contemporary strong heroine dark romance insta-love

    The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

    Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

    Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win. more

  • #5 Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire

    Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire

    contemporary second chances strong heroine enemies to lovers possessive hero

    The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

    Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. more

  • #6 Worth the Chance - Vi Keeland

    Worth the Chance - Vi Keeland

    contemporary second chances bdsm friends to lovers bad boys

    Meet Liv Michaels

    It may have been seven years, but I’d know him anywhere. Sure, he’s grown, filled out in all the right places, but his captivating blue eyes and cocky grin are exactly the way I remember. Even though I’d much rather forget.

    Liv Michaels is almost there. She’s smart, determined and weeks away from landing the job she’s dreamed about for years. Time healed old wounds, even her broken heart from the devastation of being crushed by her first love.

    Meet Vince Stone

    Women love a fighter, especially a good one. Lucky for me, I’m damn good. But there’s one woman that isn’t interested. Not again, anyway. more

  • #7 Willing Victim - Cara McKenna

    Willing Victim - Cara McKenna

    contemporary erotic romance alpha male bad boys fighters

    For the past couple years Laurel’s been coasting, hiding in the backseat while her life drifts off course. Then one summer afternoon a tall, built bruiser named Flynn strides in and steers her straight into an infatuation she never saw coming.

    Flynn introduces Laurel to things she’s never imagined—to the violent but exciting realm of the underground boxing circuit, to rough sex and even rougher role-playing, and to an attraction she craves even as it intimidates her. more

  • #8 Fighting Temptation - K.C. Lynn

    Fighting Temptation - K.C. Lynn

    contemporary fighters suspense alpha male men in uniform

    Julia Sinclair is your typical innocent good girl with a heart of gold. At sixteen she moved to Sunset Bay, South Carolina, to live with her Grams after losing her mother to cancer. This is where she met some of the best friends she will ever have and one in particular who will forever hold her heart.

    Jaxson Reid is your typical tattooed bad boy. His past and soul is as dark as the tattoos he bares. He flies through life and girls with no attachments and no emotions... until he met her.

    One fateful night brought Julia and Jaxson together. They formed a friendship and a bond so strong it was unbreakable. more

  • #9 Consumed - Skyla Madi

    Consumed - Skyla Madi

    contemporary bad boys alpha male athletes fighters

    Olivia James has never been one to walk on the wild side, at least not until she meets Seth Marc—a cocky, sexy fighter at her father’s gym. He’s infuriating, nauseatingly addictive and she just can’t seem to shake him. He’s only been in town a short while and his name is already on everyone’s lips. He's the kind of guy moms’ warn their daughters about—the kind that leaves a trail of shattered hearts behind him and he has Olivia in his sights.

    Olivia has never met anyone as confusing as Seth and his hot and cold attitude constantly sends her reeling. more

  • #10 Assumption - Aurora Rose Reynolds

    Assumption - Aurora Rose Reynolds

    contemporary mystery insta-love friends to lovers fighters


    a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

    They say when you assume that you make an ass out of you and me.

    Kenton Mayson learned this lesson firsthand when he made assumptions about Autumn Freeman and the kind of woman she is based on what little information he had. What he finds out is she’s not only beautiful, but also smart, funny, a fighter, and exactly the kind of woman he wants to share his life with.

    Autumn made assumptions of her own about Kenton, and now he needs to prove her wrong in order to protect her and their future. more

  • #11 The Will (Magdalene #1) - Kristen Ashley

    The Will (Magdalene #1) - Kristen Ashley

    contemporary abuse fighters friends to lovers athletes

    Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

    While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

    But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. more

  • #12 Crossing the Line (Battered Hearts #3) - Kele Moon

    Crossing the Line (Battered Hearts #3) - Kele Moon

    contemporary strong heroine alpha male virgin hero pregnancy

    Wyatt Conner is a hard man. A sixth generation sheriff in his hometown of Garnet. A former MMA fighter. His life is about following the rules and making sure everyone else in Garnet follows them too.

    Before life hurt him, Wyatt was different. Love had once blinded him to his upbringing and made him defiant against anyone who tried to separate him from the girl he loved. He easily broke laws to ensure her safety.

    When she left it destroyed him.

    Now she's back.

    Tabitha knew coming home was a mistake, but family obligation demanded it. She wasn’t expecting to run smack into the love of her life the same day she returned. more

  • #13 Raze (Scarred Souls #1) - Tillie Cole

    Raze (Scarred Souls #1) - Tillie Cole

    young adult contemporary possessive hero cheating virgin hero

    To take back life, one must first face death...

    Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unremorseful, unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. Death and brutality are the masters of his fate. After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge...bloody, slow and violent revenge. Revenge on the man who lied. Revenge on the man who wronged him. Revenge on the man who condemned him and turned him into this: a rage-fueled killing machine. A monster void of humanity; a monster filled with hate. And no one will stand in the way of getting what he wants. more

  • #14 Destroyed - Pepper Winters

    Destroyed - Pepper Winters

    contemporary mystery strong heroine tortured hero alpha male

    She has a secret.

    I’m complicated. Not broken or ruined or running from a past I can’t face. Just complicated.

    I thought my life couldn’t get any more tangled in deceit and confusion. But I hadn’t met him. I hadn't realized how far I could fall or what I'd do to get free.

    He has a secret.

    I’ve never pretended to be good or deserving. I chase who I want, do what I want, act how I want.

    I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But then she tried to run. I’d tasted what she could offer me and damned if I would let her go.

    One secret destroys them. more

  • #15 Beyond Pain (Beyond #3) - Kit Rocha

    Beyond Pain (Beyond #3) - Kit Rocha

    science fiction erotic romance bdsm abuse friends to lovers

    Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

    Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. more

  • #16 Abel (5th Street #4) - Elizabeth Reyes

    Abel (5th Street #4) - Elizabeth Reyes

    suspense contemporary pregnancy alpha male fighters

    Coming off the worst divorce in the history of marriages, Nellie Gamboa’s looking to let loose and make up for years of neglect. When months of building sexual tension between her and the young hot boxing stud, Abel Ayala, finally peak, she makes him an offer no man would refuse.

    No promises. No demands. Just pure unrestrained passion.

    Abel’s training for the biggest fight of his career. He has no time for a social life, much less a relationship. So this arrangement couldn't be more perfect. A beautiful woman asking him to help her alleviate her neglected desires—no strings attached. more

  • #17 Love Burns (Caged Love #2) - Mandi Beck

    Love Burns (Caged Love #2) - Mandi Beck

    athletes contemporary friends to lovers fighters erotic romance

    Love. It’s my name. It’s what I fight for. It’s Frankie.

    I’m a fighter. Trained to always keep my cover. To anticipate, see the next hit coming. I never expected her past to come at us swinging like it has.

    I’m about to take on two of the most important fights of my life. My girl and the belt. I know that I can handle it. That I’ll never stop fighting. But what do you do when your life, your love is threatened and you can't take the hits-she has to? You shut your eyes and f*cking pray like hell that she’s strong enough, fierce enough to come out on top.
    I went to war for her. Now it's her turn. more

  • #18 Bound (Mastered #1) - Lorelei James

    Bound (Mastered #1) - Lorelei James

    contemporary erotic romance fighters billionaire bad boys

    Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him .

    Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. more

  • #19 Uncaged Love: (Uncaged Love #2) - J.J. Knight

    Uncaged Love: (Uncaged Love #2) - J.J.  Knight

    athletes young adult suspense contemporary fighters

    Colt McClure’s career as a champion MMA fighter is threatened by his damaged past.

    Jo believes their love can heal him. To prove it, she trusts Colt with the secret she’s been hiding from everyone.

    But there's one person who can stand in their way, and he's not about to let anyone interfere with Colt's future. more

  • #20 Better when He's Bad (Welcome to the Point #1) - Jay Crownover

    Better when He's Bad (Welcome to the Point #1) - Jay Crownover

    young adult suspense contemporary fighters alpha male

    Welcome to the Point. There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

    Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

    Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. more

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